<![CDATA[Azarius News]]> http://azarius.es/news/ The Very Advanced, Utterly Cool, Super Duper Azarius RSS Generator v2.34.445 info@azarius.net (azarius.net) <![CDATA[The great women of psychedelics - Maria Sabina]]> http://azarius.es/news/743/The_great_women_of_psychedelics_-_Maria_Sabina/ If you consider yourself a psychonaut or are at least a little bit familiar with the psychedelic scene, you’ll probably recognize names like Hofmann, McKenna, Leary and Grof. Each in their own way a pioneer when it comes to psychedelics.

But where are the women of the psychedelic movement? Well, they don’t seem to be as inclined to step into the limelight. That’s why we’re honouring just a few of the most remarkable female pioneers in this short series.

Today in part one, curandera de primera categoría María Sabina.

María Sabina (1894 – 1985)

Some call her the saint mother of the sacred mushrooms, but you’re forgiven if you’ve never heard of her. She wasn’t in it for the fame or to convince the world of the benefits of psychedelics.

María Sabina was a Mazatec curandera (shaman), living in a tiny hut in Huautla de Jimenez, a village in southern Mexico. Her healing practice was based on the use of the various species of psilocybe mushrooms. In her village, María was exalted as a "sabia" (wise one). For decades she practised her healing arts and countless sick and suffering people sought out her magic.

Most notably she was the first shaman to allow Westerners to participate in the velada, a Mazatec purification ritual through the use of psilocybin mushrooms. In 1955, ethnomycologist Robert Gordon Wasson was one of the first Westerners Sabina allowed to participate. He later wrote the famous Life magazine article 'Seeking the Magic Mushroom'. This article introduced the existence of ‘magic mushrooms’ to the rest of the world.

 Robert Gordon Wasson with Maria Sabina, preparing mushroomsRobert Gordon Wasson and Doña Maria Sabina.

Wasson described María as "a woman without blemish, immaculate, one who has never dishonoured her calling by using her powers for evil...[a woman of] rare moral and spiritual power, dedicated in her vocation, an artist in her mastery of the techniques of her vocation." (Wasson, 1980)

The arrival of the foreigners

Wasson tried to hide her identity by referring to Sabina under the pseudonym ‘Eva Mendez’, but the West soon found her and she paid a high price for sharing her sacred ceremony. By 1960, tourists looking for thrills knew where to find her. Initially she didn’t turn anyone down, but her pure intents of using the mushrooms only for healing were lost to the foreign visitors.

María Sabina had come to realize that the ceremony of the velada had no meaning to her Western visitors and they simply came in search of a fun, consciousness-expanding trip. The lack of respect for her traditions disappointed her greatly:

"Before Wasson, nobody took the saint children simply to find God. They were always taken to cure the sick. (…)They lost their force; the foreigners spoiled them."

Later, Wasson agreed that 'since the white man came looking for the mushrooms, they have lost their magic'.

Lost magic?

We owe much to María Sabina willingness to let R. Gordon Wasson experience the velada. Without her, Azarius probably wouldn’t be what it is today. There's a reason why the mushroom icon features prominently in our logo, after all.

And yet hearing her tale makes you wonder if ‘the movement’ has always been a good thing. Sabina didn’t consider herself a psychonaut. Even though we’re honouring her, the irony is that we doubt she would approve of selling magic mushrooms, likely seeing it as a hedonistic.

Something that used to be magical, has now lost its original power. Food for thought?

In part two (coming soon), Laura Huxley.

Source / read on

Erowid - María Sabina. Saint Mother of the Sacred Mushrooms

www.imaginaria.org - 'Seeking the Magic Mushroom' by R. Gordon Wasson

Sun, 29 Nov 2015 00:00:00 +0100http://azarius.es/news/743/The_great_women_of_psychedelics_-_Maria_Sabina/
<![CDATA[Hemos metido la pata]]> http://azarius.es/news/740/Hemos_metido_la_pata/ Hace poco hemos empezado a utilizar un nuevo sistema administrativo y tuvimos unos cuantos baches inesperados en el camino. Pedidos que fueron temporalmente 'extraviados', correos electrnicos apilados, todas nuestras calculadoras dividiendo por cero y nuestros telfonos que no paraban de sonar.

La buena noticia es que se han corregido todos los problemas y puedes esperar de nosotros un servicio de primera clase, ms rpido que nunca antes!

Pero sabemos que te hemos decepcionado y eso no es guay. Puesto que no estamos ms all de un soborno para ganar tu afecto, nos gustara ofrecerte (y a todos los dems) un descuento* de 5 euros en tu prximo pedido.

Utiliza el cdigo HIGH5 en la confirmacion de tu pedido para reclamar tu soborno. Por favor, comparte livremente este cdigo con tus amigos, familiares y compaeros de prisin.

Nuestras ms sinceras disculpas por cualquier inconveniente. Esperamos que puedas encontrar en tu corazn el espacio para perdonarnos. O, al menos, para suspender la milicia que se encuentra en la puerta de nuestra oficina (estamos teniendo algunos problemas para aparcar nuestras bicis).

Paz & Amor,

El equipo Azarius

* Se aplica a los pedidos de 20 o ms, y es vlido hasta el 01 de enero de 2016 o hasta la prxima guerra termonuclear total, lo que ocurra primero.

Thu, 26 Nov 2015 00:00:00 +0100http://azarius.es/news/740/Hemos_metido_la_pata/
<![CDATA[Hallucinogenic honey hunters]]> http://azarius.es/news/742/Hallucinogenic_honey_hunters/ Just when you thought Mother Nature was at her weirdest with a mushroom that makes women orgasm, along comes this story of Himalayan bees and the people who hunt their trippy honey.

Mad honey

It's called mad honey and it fetches a mad price in China and Nepal. This honey is special because it's produced by the Himalayan cliff bee (Apis dorsata laboriosa). It's the largest bee in the world at just over 3 cm long.

Mad honey, also known as red honey, is a powerful hallucinogen and also sold as folk medicine to treat practically anything. The honey owes its unique properties to the Rhododendron flowers.

Rhododendron nectar contains an ingredient called grayanotoxin — a natural neurotoxin that, even in small quantities, brings on light-headedness and sometimes, hallucinations.

Honey hunters

Twice a year, groups of Himalayan locals undertake the dangerous task of collecting honey from the huge bee hives along the high cliffs, at altitudes of 2500 meters or higher. Mad honey is up to five times more valuable than regular honey and is sold to wealthy locals and curious tourists.

Weapon of mad destruction

But before you rush to score some honey, there is a downside. In small amounts, the honey gives a feeling of relaxation, pleasant dizziness and a tingling sensation. In larger doses it can cause Rhododendron poisoning, which may lead to heart problems.

The honey has a long history - apparently even as a weapon. It's said that in 67 B.C. King Mithridates protected the Black Sea area from Roman invasion by leaving stashes of mad honey for the Roman soldiers to find. The intoxicated soldiers were easily dispatched, as the story goes.


The documentary shows the remarkable lengths people have gone to to access this rare and unique honey:


www.the-open-mind.com - These Himalayan Bees Make Psychedelic Honey

Thu, 19 Nov 2015 00:00:00 +0100http://azarius.es/news/742/Hallucinogenic_honey_hunters/
<![CDATA[Psychedelic Sessions: Dutch Spirit]]> http://azarius.es/news/733/Psychedelic_Sessions__Dutch_Spirit/ Manoj Hermans and Gert-Jan Evelo are herbal gurus and founders of Dutch Spirit, a brand of herbal teas created with the seven chakras in mind. We asked them to tell us all about what makes their blends special and the result is the lecture you can listen to below. Enjoy!

This lecture was recorded at the Psychedelic Sessions at Landjuweel Festival 2015.

(Please note: the lecture is held in Dutch)

About Psychedelic Sessions

The Psychedelic Sessions are six thought-provoking lectures on the psychedelic experience. Most of us know about trippin' and spacin', but what do psychedelics have to offer us from ritualistic, therapeutic, scientific or spiritual point of view?

The Psychedelic Sessions was hosted by your favourite online smartshop & headshop (that's us!) at the Ruigoord saloon during the Landjuweel Festival. In case you missed it, we've uploaded all lectures for you here.

Sun, 15 Nov 2015 00:00:00 +0100http://azarius.es/news/733/Psychedelic_Sessions__Dutch_Spirit/
<![CDATA[Founder TGC sentenced to 103 years in prison]]> http://azarius.es/news/741/Founder_TGC_sentenced_to_103_years_in_prison/ The founder and former owner of the Dutch coffeeshop chain The Grass Company, Johan van Laarhoven, has been sentenced in Thailand to 103 years in jail, on charges of money laundering.

The most salient part of this story: the charges are based on money he earned by selling cannabis in the Netherlands. Which, according to the Dutch gedoogbeleid (loosely translated: toleration policy), is legal. Like any business, taxes were paid. So how can this be seen as money laundering?

'Pablo Escobar'

Van Laarhoven had been living with his wife in Thailand for years and was arrested in July 2014 at the request of the Dutch Justice department, following a long-running investigation into the TGC coffeeshops.

The Thai media depicts him as a European version of drugs lord Pablo Escobar. A completely unjust and misguided view, as Van Laarhoven's source of income was from legal trade. It seems the Thai prosecution was not informed of the 'gedoogbeleid' and viewed this case as one revolving around illegal drugs trade, just like the infamous Columbian trafficker Escobar. Deliberate deception by the Dutch authorities, it seems. This has now led to a completely ridiculous sentence of 103 years in prison, of which he needs to serve 20 years.

The health problems Van Laarhoven suffers from and the appalling conditions in the Bangkok Remand Prison mean this verdict amounts to a death sentence, according to his brother.

Witch hunt

"The case concerns investments by Van Laarhoven in Thailand, using profits from his coffeeshops," said his lawyer Smeets.

Smeets: "It's utterly incomprehensible that he earned a decent living in the Netherlands and paid his taxes, only to be convicted for money laundering in Thailand."

"It seems the Thai court has been misled by the Dutch police," says Smeets. "They told the court how he earned this money but failed to explain what the Dutch gedoogbeleid means. How can it be a crime if what he did in the Netherlands was perfectly legal?"

Justice for Johan

The VOC (Dutch Association for the abolition of Cannabis prohibition) has launched the website www.justiceforjohan.nl. This site tells his side of the story. It's also a call to every coffeeshop and cannabis fan to write Johan a letter of encouragement, or to write a letter to the authorities to ask for his return to the Netherlands.


Nu.nl - 'Twintig jaar cel voor oprichter coffeeshopketen The Grass Company' (Dutch)

www.thegrasscompany.nl - 'Justice for Johan' (Dutch)

www.justiceforjohan.nl (Dutch)

Tue, 10 Nov 2015 00:00:00 +0100http://azarius.es/news/741/Founder_TGC_sentenced_to_103_years_in_prison/
<![CDATA[Hydrangea high?]]> http://azarius.es/news/56/Hydrangea_high/ In case you missed it the first time: the article below was originally posted back in 2005. Enjoy this little time capsule from ten years ago. A time when men were men, women were women and people apparently stole Hydrangea plants for fun?


The Netherlands has encountered a short, surprising hype in December, caused by the news that Hydrangea may have a hallucinogenic effect. The plant that grows in many gardens, has frequently been stolen in different parts of the country, which no one understood because the plant is not rare or of high value.

We received a phone call with the question whether Hydrangea is psychoactive or not. Not a bad question, who knows we are holding ourselves back from a new best-seller here?

The hype caught up on us in the blink of an eye: the media came with the opinion of Harald Wychgel of the Trimbos Institute, the national institute for addiction treatment.

According to him only one type of Hydrangea can be used as a drug. This kind comes from China and Japan and is called Hydrangea paniculata. It gives a marihuana like high when you smoke it. But this is highly dissuaded because the leaves and roots contain cyanide, a highly poisonous substance.

Wychgel does not believe that the hydrangea have been stolen for this reason, and we share this point of view. There are many kinds of plants that have psychoactive effects: nutmeg and poppy seed for example. For the Dutch, when seeking a high it’s smarter and much easier to visit a coffeeshop. And of course, anyone can inform himself at an (online) smartshop for other psychoactives.

Mon, 09 Nov 2015 00:00:00 +0100http://azarius.es/news/56/Hydrangea_high/
<![CDATA[Stoned as a shrimp vs. high as a kite]]> http://azarius.es/news/731/Stoned_as_a_shrimp_vs_high_as_a_kite/ Getting high and getting stoned; is it the same thing?

If you're intimately familiar with vaping or smoking cannabis, you'll probably laugh at the question, but for those who don't have as much experience the distinction can be difficult.

So what's the difference between being high and being stoned?


As the term implies, the stoned effect makes your body feel like a chunk of stone. Unable, or unwilling, to move.

If someone is smoking weed in a work of fiction (series, film or book), chances are you'll see the stoned stereotype. The typical 'pothead': lazy, incoherent and often downright unintelligent. We strange Dutch call this: being as stoned as a shrimp.

In reality, being stoned won't always be as overwhelming as it's portrayed in fiction. It's simply a relaxed state, which for some people also leads to sleepiness.

Indica cannabis strains generally give you a stoned effect. This type is ideal for late night hanging on the couch.


When you're high, your head is up in the clouds. Your creativity is soaring and you're able to have amusing philosophical thoughts that may not actually turn out to be as 'deep' as you initially thought.

As you'd expect from the term high, you feel energized and euphoric.

Sativa cannabis strains generally give you a (cerebral) high effect. Getting high can be a lot of fun with friends. Try a silly movie and you'll find it's even sillier when high.


Put simply, being high relates to what you're feeling in your head. Stoned is what it does to your body. The two are different but not mutually exclusive, so you can be both physically relaxed (stoned) and be more imaginative and prone to laughter (high) at the same time.

What's important to remember is that the effects of cannabis, like all psychedelics, also heavily depends on set & setting as well as your own physiology. Some people are more susceptible to certain effects than others.

Read on

Azarius Encyclopaedia: cannabis

Azarius Encyclopaedia: cannabis types

Wed, 04 Nov 2015 00:00:00 +0100http://azarius.es/news/731/Stoned_as_a_shrimp_vs_high_as_a_kite/
<![CDATA[Psychedelic Sessions: Hans van den Hurk]]> http://azarius.es/news/732/Psychedelic_Sessions__Hans_van_den_Hurk/ Hans van den Hurk is no stranger in the Dutch psychedelic scene. We interviewed him recently and today we're posting his lecture about ethnobotanic experiences. This remarkable lecture was recorded at the Psychedelic Sessions at Landjuweel Festival 2015.

(Please note: the lecture is held in Dutch)

About Psychedelic Sessions

The Psychedelic Sessions are six thought-provoking lectures on the psychedelic experience. Most of us know about trippin' and spacin', but what do psychedelics have to offer us from ritualistic, therapeutic, scientific or spiritual point of view?

The Psychedelic Sessions was hosted by your favourite online smartshop & headshop (that's us!) at the Ruigoord saloon during the Landjuweel Festival. In case you missed it, we've uploaded all lectures for you here.

Sat, 31 Oct 2015 00:00:00 +0100http://azarius.es/news/732/Psychedelic_Sessions__Hans_van_den_Hurk/
<![CDATA[Down in the dumps? Low dopamine levels and you]]> http://azarius.es/news/729/Down_in_the_dumps__Low_dopamine_levels_and_you/ When you wake up each day with that terrible Monday morning feeling, something is wrong. Unless you’re the grumpiest person on the planet, you probably shouldn’t feel like you’re in a bad mood all the time.

If you’re also tired, unable to experience joy and have a hard time concentrating on things, you may be dealing with dopamine deficiency.

The dopamine reward

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter. The mystery of dopamine still hasn’t been solved completely, but we know it plays a pretty big part in the pleasure and reward mechanisms of your brain, together with serotonin.

Dopamine is released when good things happen and makes you feel all tingly inside. Your body is telling you that did a good thing with a nice "good job, champ".

A 'good thing' could be anything from sex, making an especially good deal at work, to eating good food or playing slot machines (cunningly designed to give you an occasional rush, to keep you coming back for more).

Serotonin & dopamine - technically the only two things you enjoy

So dopamine is supposed work as a natural motivator. You achieve something, you get a reward. This helps you to keep discovering new things, even if it’s as basic as "this food is yummy".

On a fundamental level, we're all thrill-seekers. But certain things and especially certain substances can wreak havoc on your natural dopamine levels.

Drugs & dopamine

Drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamines increase the amount of dopamine in the brain, which is where much of the euphoric high comes from. You feel great even though you didn’t really do much to earn it. You slacker.

Your body is telling you that did a good thing with a nice: good job, champ

That rush is nevertheless very addictive. But take too much and you may end paying a high price in the form of coping with really low dopamine levels afterwards.

We love a good party as much as the next guy, but it would be nice to be able to experience joy the rest of the week too. So what can you do?

Putting the DO back in dopamine

Luckily there are things you can do to get rid of those feelings of hopelessness and wrestle back control over your mood. One of the basic building blocks of dopamine is the amino acid tyrosine. Without it, you can’t make dopamine. The following foods are known to increase dopamine:

Almonds, avocados, bananas, green tea, low-fat dairy, meat and poultry, lima beans, sesame and pumpkin seeds. Eating chocolate is also known to make you feel good, but careful you don’t overdo it.

You can also try tyrosine supplements. Azarius offers two varieties: L-Tyrosine 500 mg/B6 and L-Tyrosine 500 mg.

What else can you do?

But there’s more you can do than stuff your face with food or supplements. The most important thing to realize is that it may not happen on it's own. You have to fight for it!

  • For one, take a break from all drugs and alcohol. If it messes with your happiness in the long run, it’s not worth it.
  • Go to bed earlier and making sure you get at least eight hours of sleep every night.
  • Exercise more regularly. Many people find that sports and athletic achievements give their own special rush.
  • Try to undertake more activities that make you feel happy. Get out of the house and just go do something that makes you happier. Whether it’s doing things with friends or just by yourself.
  • Set goals, however small, and reward yourself if you can achieve these goals.
Go to bed earlier and making sure you get at least eight hours of sleep every night

Finally, if none of this helps and you’re still feeling down more often than not, you may be dealing with a depression. Don’t let it cast a dark shadow over your life. Consult a healthcare professional.

And if nobody ever tells you this, we will. You are awesome. You deserve to enjoy every last bit of life!

Source / read more

Reset.me - Dopamine Deficiency And Your Mental Health

Azarius Encyclopaedia: After Party Detox

Tue, 27 Oct 2015 00:00:00 +0100http://azarius.es/news/729/Down_in_the_dumps__Low_dopamine_levels_and_you/
<![CDATA[Canada: cannabis infinitely worse than tobacco, eh?]]> http://azarius.es/news/734/Canada__cannabis_infinitely_worse_than_tobacco_eh/ Earlier this month, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper made the most incorrect statement possible about drug policy.

Asked about the Conservative Party's opposition to marijuana legalization, Harper said, "Tobacco is a product that does a lot of damage. Marijuana is infinitely worse."

It's difficult to overstate just how wrong Harper is. Tobacco's health effects cause 37,000 deaths in Canada each year — an astonishing 17 percent of all deaths in the country. Cannabis, meanwhile, has never been conclusively linked to any deaths from direct health effects. Even the scientific evidence on whether pot causes lung damage when smoked is mixed, with studies that control for tobacco smoking finding no significant effect from cannabis on lung cancer risk.

One caveat: A very small number of people likely die due to accidents while under the effects of cannabis. But this data isn't reliably tracked, and there's still some debate about whether pot even significantly increases this risk.

Top 3 deadliest drugs

Of course, this is true not just in Canada, but in the US too. In fact, the top three deadliest drugs in the United States are legal: tobacco, alcohol, and opioid painkillers. Some of that, of course, is caused by their legality, which makes them more accessible and more widely used. But tobacco in particular is so deadly that it's unlikely anything would catch up to it even if all drugs were legalized.

Now, drugs carry dangers other than death. Cannabis' biggest risk is dependency and loss of productivity. But this is a fairly abstract risk — one that affects a minority of pot users (the heavy users). Tobacco, on the other hand, will almost certainly kill you or take years away from your life through long-term use. It is much, much worse than cannabis.


Vox.com - 'Canada's prime minister said marijuana is "infinitely worse" than tobacco. Absolutely not.'

Fri, 23 Oct 2015 00:00:00 +0200http://azarius.es/news/734/Canada__cannabis_infinitely_worse_than_tobacco_eh/